SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - There are a total of six amendments on this year’s ballot, but three of them will directly impact voters and how they’ll vote in future elections.
Let’s take a look at amendments 1, 3 and 4.
First up, Amendment 1. Right now, the constitution says “every citizen” can register to vote. Amendment 1 is proposing to change the wording to say “only citizens” can vote.
“I agree. I am very proud. It’s my second country, but I think it’s very normal to vote only if you are a citizen,” Agustina Orate tells us. She became a citizen after living here for 12 years.
While this amendment is pretty straightforward, other amendments will have a greater impact on voters.
For example, Amendment 3. Currently, primaries are closed - meaning voters must be registered with a political party – either Republican or Democrat - in order to participate. Those registered as independent are not allowed to vote. Plus, voters will only see candidates in their political party on their ballot. Amendment 3 would change all of that – primaries would now be an open election allowing all voters to fill out a ballot.
“Most voters in most elections are excluded in voting for the person who is going to represent them in Tallahassee. That seems fundamentally wrong. These elections are paid for by tax payers, yet, in almost every single one of those elections, most taxpayers are legally prohibited from voting,” explained Steve Vancore, the spokesperson for “All Voters Vote”.
Amendment 3 would also change the way the election for state officials would go moving forward. The two top candidates with the most votes, no matter their party affiliation, would advance to the general election. However, because having an open primary might cause there to not be party affiliations on the ballot, some voters think it will be confusing.
“It seems more complicated, and we want it to be easy for people to vote and practice their rights, so I am opposed to that,” explained Amy Robins.
Lastly, Amendment 4, which would require all future constitutional amendments to be voted on twice – in two separate elections. Some say this would be beneficial to make sure there aren’t too many changes to our constitution, and so that voters are actually informed on what changes would be made.
“The people who are too lazy to research and pay close attention, go ahead and vote without any real intelligence or information,” expressed Rich Robins.
However, others worry this would keep our country stagnant.
“It already takes a super majority of 60% to get a citizen-initiative on the ballot. It also requires hundreds and thousands of petition signatures, millions of dollars and a supreme court review. Amendment 4 would make getting an initiative on the ballot and passed, almost impossible,” said Patricia Brigham, the Florida President of the League of Women Voters.
Click here for our complete guide to everything that is on the ballot this year, and what else you need to know to cast your vote.